Well, we’re coming quickly upon the end of the school year and I’m constantly thinking these days, “How did THAT happen?”  Ha!  I have a challenge for you as you think about closing the school year and turn your energy toward next year.

I want you to take a piece of notepaper and I want you to make a quick T-chart with one side that says, “Things I need to tweak” and the other side that says “Thing I need to keep.”  And I want you to take 1 minute ONLY to jot down at least 3 things/practices/activities/habits from this school year that would fall into each category.  I only want you to take one minute because it’s important to go with your gut on this one.

Then I want you to look at your brainstormed quick list of “tweaks” and “keeps”…do you notice a pattern?  

I did this recently for our business – and my tweaks and keeps were around how we provide service to our clients.  When I did the analysis, I realized that there was a pattern on the tweaks and keeps sides: TAKE MY TIME.  Huh?

Well, our goal in life (ha!) is to be really responsive to our clients – when you all say you need something, we want to provide it for you…and we want to do that FAST!  Sometimes I find that I don’t think things all of the way through before I start working on them…because I’m obsessed with getting things to people on-the-spot.  Things that made it onto the “keep” side of my chart were things that were related to taking my time. Hmmm…so…get the message, Jackson?  

If the stuff you’ve got to have go is rushing, and the stuff you want to keep is taking your time, THE WRITING’S ON THE WALL!  Ultimately, taking a bit more time (I’ll never be slow, it’s just not in my genes!) will allow me to provide an even better product or piece of advice to our clients like you.  AND, I won’t get so exhausted in the process.  The T-chart gave me the very strong reminder that I need to practice what I preach: doing one thing really well is better than doing a zillion things half-baked!

Ultimately I see that we are often repeating habits, patterns of behavior, teaching tendencies – even though we know they aren’t serving our kids well…or as well as we could be.  

I think these little gut-checks along the way help us step aside from the actually teaching and get perspective on what our teaching looks like – and ultimately that leads us to doing our own “tweaking” and “keeping” – and refining of our instructional habits.  And that’s ALWAYS a good thing!

Improving instruction and performance typically isn’t about major overhauls – it’s about small steps that are righted along the way.  And those small steps have big impact.